hindu death rituals

890 Words4 Pages
There is one thing that is certain in this lifetime that eventually we all must die. A belief in the cyclical reincarnation of the soul is one of the foundations of the Hindu religion. Death is viewed as a natural aspect of life, and there are numerous epic tales, sacred scriptures, and vedic guidance that describe the reason for death 's existence, the rituals that should be performed surrounding it, and the many possible destinations of the soul after departure from its earthly existence (Retrieved from http://mailerindia.com/hindu/veda/index.php?death on 18th January, 2012).this essay will discuss the rituals performed for the soul of the dead body so it reaches heaven peacefully.
Traditionally,
…show more content…
The standard cremation ceremony begins with the ritual cleansing, dressing and adorning of the body. The body is then carried to the cremation ground as prayers are chanted to Yama, invoking his aid.
It is usually the chief mourner and the eldest son who perform the “Agni” or fire ceremony. He circumambulates the pyre counterclockwise– for everything is backward at the time of death and lights the pyre. The death now is an offering to Agni. After burning the corpse the chief mourner cracks the skull with a bamboo , thus releasing the soul from entrapment in the body. After cremation a thirteen day ritual is done for the safety of the soul till it reaches heaven. Family read a holy book called Bhagwat Geeta every afternoon for the deceased person. .Twelve hours after the cremation, the ashes are thrown into a river, ideally the Ganges river, and the mourners walk away without looking back. On the 3rd, 5th, 7th or 9th day, relatives gather for a meal of the deceased 's favorite foods. A portion is offered before his photo and later ceremonially left at an abandoned place, along with some lit camphor. On the 31st day, a memorial service is held. In some traditions it is a repetition of the funeral rites. At home, all thoroughly clean the house. the chief priest than prays for the deceased and his ancestors so their souls can reunite in the next world.
Get Access